Junkyard Outtake: Reattas and Miatas and Azteks, Oh My!


I love the old, rural, mom-and-pop junkyards that dot the landscape around where I live. But if you want to see things that are between 10 and 25 years old – and lots of them – you can’t beat a self-service yard.

As I understand it, those of you to the south and west especially have it made when it comes to self-serve junkyards. Pick-A-Part, Grab & Go… the list goes on. Around here, though, there’s only one corporate operation where you’ll find a price board and rows of wheelbarrows. It takes me a good 45 minutes to get there, but I always make a point to drop by at least a couple times a month. The counter staff is friendly, the prices mostly reasonable, and the turnover excellent. Just cough up $2 and sign the waiver, and your safari begins.

You never know what you might find when visiting this yard. I’ve seen all sorts of strange things pass through here – some of which I’ve taken home, others I only wish I had. And there’s never a dull moment. Two weeks ago, for instance, I nearly hit the blue leather trifecta… an Aurora, a Caddy, and a Park Avenue whose interior color was debatable (blueish gray).

On this particular day, though, one row of the GM department was stranger than usual: two Azteks and a Reatta within feet of each other.


Strangely, both Azteks seemed to have made it here as the result of right front collisions. The silver one was strictly unremarkable, but the red one was worth a closer look.


The smooth, color-keyed cladding tells us it’s 2002 or newer.


And what a well-optioned beast it was! It even had the uncommon (at least around here) two-tone sport leather. The oil change sticker suggests its odometer had just rolled into the triple digits – surprisingly low for a junkyard car.


More oddball options. I’d never encountered one of these plastic rear organizers in real life until now. My hopes of finding the specially made Aztek tent inside it, however, were dashed.


Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better (worse?), we see it claims to be AWD equipped – and a quick peek under the rear confirms it. An odd beast indeed! This, combined with the likelihood of low miles and a non-mechanical cause of death, help explain why someone was hard at work extracting its transmission.


Being blinded by the overwhelming presence of two Azteks bombarding my senses, I didn’t even notice the Reatta next door until I began moving down the row. According to the window paint, this is a 1990.


Though clearly an unloved example, this little Buick still had a few decent parts to offer.


Upon seeing the Texas inspection sticker, it becomes somewhat clearer how this one survived the tin-worm.


I’d like to think this one’s parts might be saving other Reattas. But being as the only things missing were identifying marks and the CRT, I suspect only souvenir hunters had been at it thus far.


Backseats? We don’t need no stinking backseats! Just a passthrough for your… um, hockey sticks? waterskis? building materials?


What’s a car I haven’t seen in this yard in a while? Which foreign two-seater do I not need any parts from today? What were those seats I saw leaving as I arrived pulled out of? Yup, I guess Miata is always the answer… you just gotta ask the right questions.

Is this post crushing it, or does seeing so much scrap just weigh you down? Let me know in the comments below! Your input will help to determine whether or not I should do more Junkyard Outtakes in the future. (If the reception is positive, you can look forward to a battle of the low-mile Iron Dukes – among other things – next week!)